Tom who slept

Do not self-medicate! In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and the opinions of authoritative health experts. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Sarah met Tom at the house of their mutual friends, and chemistry immediately broke out between them. He was talkative, charming, with a sense of humor and in some ways reminded her of her brother.


They started dating. Everything was fine until one night something happened that made Sarah anxious. She woke up to Tom rubbing her breasts roughly and rubbing his cock against her thighs. She pushed him away and Tom fell asleep.

“I thought then that he was just joking, and just forgot about this case. Probably, his previous girlfriend once decided so too.

The couple began to bond, and everything went well until somehow Sarah and Tom spent the night at a friend’s house. They both drank a little. Late at night, Sarah woke up from the fact that Tom was trying quite aggressively to penetrate her through the linen. She pushed him away, and in the morning declared that she had had enough of his quirks.

Imagine Sarah’s surprise when Tom, instead of making excuses or laughing it off, began to claim that he did not remember anything like that.


Sarah was ready to admit that his behavior that night was really very different from usual – as a rule, Tom was soft and gentle. Sarah remembered that Tom had told her that many, many years ago, one of his ex-girlfriends accused him of rape and Tom was sentenced to seven years in prison. He said that then he and Karen also drank and went to bed. He fell asleep almost instantly, but woke up to Karen hitting him and yelling, “It’s not you! What are you doing?! It is not like you! That’s not you!” Confused, he grabbed his things and left the apartment.


Sarah persuaded Tom to go to the doctor’s office, where he spent the whole night with electrodes attached to his head. And in the end, the device showed something very strange …


“His sleep EEG looks like he is both awake and deep asleep at the same time. That is, we can see long and slow waves and short fast rhythms that overlap, ”commented Dr. Guy Leshtsiner, a neurologist, on the situation.

This meant a very rare and dangerous diagnosis – sexsomnia. Fortunately for Tom, she is treated with medication, and with the help of medication, people return to normal life.


Sexsomnia is a type of sleepwalking in which a person is sexually active during sleep.

According to research published in the Bulletin of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (eng. -Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine), sexsomnia has three degrees:


  1. the least dangerous is manifested in sleep disorders that do not cause much concern to others;
  2. Cases, the consequences of which “manifest in some non-pecuniary damage”;
  3. in the most difficult situations, patients enter into unconscious somnambulistic sexual contact with partners.

The cause of sexsomnia, like any other sleep disorder, is that the brain seems to have “mixed up” dream and reality. Additional risk factors are alcohol consumption or severe stress.

sleep rape

In 2014, in Sweden, a 26-year-old man who raped a woman was found not guilty because a doctor present at the hearing stated that the defendant may have suffered from sexsomnia. It was impossible to prove it, as well as to disprove it.


Dr. Guy Leshziner says: “The sleepwalker looks awake, although he is actually asleep. This can be seen on the encephalogram. Those parts of the brain that are responsible for movement and emotions do not sleep. But others, who are involved in the processes of memory, decision making and rational thinking, are still sleeping. So people in this state can talk, walk, eat, cook, drive, and even have sex without being aware of what they are doing. But without electrodes attached to the head of the suspect at the time of the rape, it is impossible to say whether it was the result of sexsomnia.